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Christmas Kitten Commercial turns 40

From BSB

BANGOR – If you grew up in Maine, the iconic Bangor Savings Bank commercial featuring two playful kittens is a beloved part of your holiday memories.

Waylon and Willie scurry under the Christmas tree, swat their paws at ornaments, tear open gift-wrapping paper, and lap up the milk they spilt – all while a musical medley plays that has become embedded in our collective consciousness. 

While every advertisement has a shelf life, the Christmas Kittens are truly the exception, standing the test of time with an annual airing every holiday season since its debut in 1980. For many, the Christmas season didn’t begin until this 60-second image ad – meant to evoke an emotion rather than sell a product – had hit the airwaves. Forty years later, it’s still going strong with some fans asking as early as August: When will the kittens ad begin playing?  

To mark the commercial’s 40th anniversary, Bangor Savings Bank released a video that talks about the history of the ad, and is making a major donation to local animal shelters.

The video at www.bangor.com/kittens peeks behind the curtain of one of the most iconic TV ads the region has ever seen.

Featured in the video are Phil Cormier, a TV commercial editor who worked on the ad; The Nite Show’s Danny Cashman, who parodied the commercial; and comments about the ad from Bangor Savings Bank employees.

The ad includes trivia, such as the names of the kittens (Waylon and Willie), that it took four times as long to shoot the commercial because Waylon and Willie kept falling asleep, and that the “meow” at the commercial’s end didn’t come from a cat – but from a studio employee 

Bangor Savings Bank is donating $10,000 to animal shelters in Maine and New Hampshire. The shelters will be chosen by an online vote that runs until midnight, Dec. 31.  Voters can submit their choice at the video website at www.bangor.com/kittens

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